a rivers and canoeing Thanksgiving

Today (at waters’ edge/by the rendezvous fire or hearth) we give thanks for the gift of canoes and water, the essence of life.

And for our beautiful streams and their forested greenbelts which host our treasured paddling expeditions.

And for our early antecedents, the First Peoples of North America for the legacy of their splendid canoe—

an incarnation of grace, a tool supremely suited to its purpose and place, a design of indigenous genius’.   (Paul Gruchow).

We’re grateful for being able to quietly connect with our natural heritage which is so closely linked, through the millennia, to our sense of well-being.  It’s especially welcome in this trying age of mass consumerism, the anti-democratic corporate state, and the “increasingly platitudinous present” (Thomas McGuane, 1993).   “The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten.  It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfaction.” (Sigurd Olsen, The Singing Wilderness)

We’re grateful for the spiritual values provided by our river sojourns.  “Rivers have what man most respects and longs for in his own life and thought– a capacity for renewal and replenishment, continual energy, creativity, cleansing.”  (John M. Kauffman, American Rivers, July, 1977)

And for the friendly camaraderie afforded by our paddling friends— like-minded folks who appreciate natural heritage and good cheer.

And for today’s grassroots advocacy groups who battle against the “Perpetual Power and Growth Machine” to defend our streams which would be voiceless without them.

For the future, we pray for more public vigilance, and for honest and enlightened public officials who refuse to cater to the pervasive commercial interests which degrade our streams and their riparian greenbelts just to maximize their short-term profits and corporate brand.  We pray also for the individual courage to “step forward” (Lakota) when needed to vigorously defend our waters and watersheds against the greed of callous developers and relentless commercial enterprise. Lastly, we pray for those not yet educated in the values and responsibilities of conservation– as their enlightenment will be key to preserving Nature and our treasured paddling experiences.


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